A U.S. State Department program that denies passports to parents who owe child support payments has collected more than $22.5 million so far this year, the Associated Press reported Aug. 14.

The government collected about $24 billion overall last year on behalf of 14 million custodial parents; of those parents, 83 percent are women. In 2003, mothers received $23.3 billion of the $33.7 billion in support that was overdue.

“For us, it’s been amazing to see how people who owe back child support seem to be able to come up with good chunks of money when it involves needing their passport,” said Adolfo Capestany, spokesperson for Washington state’s collection program.

The Virginia Department of Social Services has subpoenaed information from cell phone companies to locate parents who owe support, the Free Lance-Star of Fredericksburg reported Aug. 13. The department has collected $608 million in overdue payments, an increase of $21 million over the last year. At any given time, the state is searching for 250,000 parents. A cell phone database search last month yielded 52,000 addresses. Ten other states now have similar programs.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • A study has found that female athletes in high school were 73 percent more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree within six years of graduating compared to non-athletes, reported U.S. News and World Report July 29. Among women with socio economic backgrounds that normally indicate a lower likelihood of graduating from college, athletes were 40 percent more likely to earn their sheepskins.
  • Five of the 37 federally recognized tribes in Oklahoma are now led by women, Indian Country Today reported Aug. 7, representing tribes that have a traditionally patriarchal leadership. Chief Kay Rhoads leads the Sac and Fox Nation; Glenna Wallace is chief of the Eastern Shawnee; Bernadette Huber is ending a two-year term as chair of the Iowa Tribe; LaRue Parker is the Caddo tribal chair; and Jennifer Onzahwah is governor of the Absentee Shawnee.
  • Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea, is developing a shortened science and engineering doctoral course as part of an effort to implement women-friendly programs by next year, the Korea Times reported Aug. 10. Officials say the new program, two years shorter than the typical 10 years, will allow more women to complete degrees despite marriage or child-care commitments.
  • For the first time, five Afghan women have opened shops for “women’s things”–lingerie, pants, T-shirts, cosmetics–and some food items in Mazar, a northern city, Inter Press Service reported Aug. 15. The initiative is promoted by the women’s ministry and female customers–prohibited from dealing with men by custom–are buying.
  • Lebanon’s Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah has issued a fatwa banning honor killings, the Daily Star reported Aug 6. These crimes are committed mostly on the basis of suspicions, according to Fadlallah, the most senior religious authority for Lebanon’s 1.2 million Shiites.
  • Citizens of Uganda’s Tororo district have filed a petition to abolish the system of the bride price, the New Vision in Uganda reported Aug. 13. Custom dictates that marriages are valid only after the husband’s family pays the bride price to the woman’s family, which opponents say is unconstitutional and discriminatory because women are treated like property.

For more information:


“Child-Support Collection Cutbacks Are Shameful”:

“Lawmaker Funnels $750,000 to Abortion Ban Campaign”:

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CBS has settled for undisclosed terms its dispute with radio host Don Imus after he threatened to sue the company for $120 million for breaching his five-year contract, Reuters reported Aug. 15. Imus was fired in April after referring to female basketball players from Rutgers University as “nappy-headed hos” on his radio show. Rutgers player Kia Vaughan filed a slander suit against Imus on Aug. 14.

To replace Imus on flagship sports station WFAN, CBS hired radio hosts Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton. Carton’s controversial remarks have drawn fire from women, Asian Americans, nonsmokers and police officers in New Jersey, according to the AP. Forbes reported Aug. 15 that Imus is negotiating his return to the airwaves with several broadcasters, led by New York station WABC.

In other media news, O.J. Simpson’s book in which he describes how he might have murdered his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman, will be published by Beaufort Books, the AP reported Aug. 14. “If I Did It” was cancelled in November 2006 by News Corp.’s HarperCollins. The Goldman family will receive most of the book’s proceeds under a court agreement and direct them to the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • Iraqi women are increasingly compelled to enter prostitution as a result of the war, CNN reported Aug. 16. Desperate to feed and care for their children, women are selling sex for as little as $8 a day. “I have to do anything that I can to preserve my child, because I am a mother,” 37-year-old Suha told the news network. As a young girl, she dreamed of being a doctor.
  • The $750,000 donor that funded a 2006 election campaign to ban abortions in South Dakota may remain anonymous, a circuit judge has ruled, the Sioux City Journal reported Aug. 14. The donation was made through a corporation set up expressly to be a campaign contributor.
  • Kenya’s parliament quickly nixed a bill that would have reserved 50 new seats for women; currently, 18 serve in the 222-seat body. “What we now have on our hands is a House so hopelessly tilted in favor of rich, old, misguided and manipulative men that it leaves our political development completely numb and lackluster, possibly even in the intensive care unit,” commented Lucy Oriang in The Nation newspaper.
  • Three U.S. women in the GABRIELA Network–a U.S.-Filipino women’s rights organization–werebarred by the government from leaving the Philippines after attending a women’s summit there and being placed on a “watch list.” The group’s national chair Annalisa Enrile, Judith Mirkinson and Ninotchka Rosca were released Aug. 14, the day after vigils were held in four U.S. cities.
  • Half of the 119 women murdered in Cape Town between this year’s and last year’s Women’s Day–Aug. 9–were killed by their partners and 25 percent were sexually assaulted before their deaths, the Independent Online Web site reported Aug 11. The brutality of the attacks is increasing, pathologists examining the battered and broken bodies said.
  • Some Democratic leaders are expressing fears that front-runner Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is too polarizing and unfavorable to win the presidency, and that her nomination could hurt other candidates in key congressional and state races, the Associated Press reported Aug. 12. Mostly in anonymous quotes, candidates, consultants and party chairs across the country said a negative perception of Clinton could push away independent voters and draw more Republicans to polls.


The first annual “Women and Major Magazines Cover Stories Monitor” has found that out of 200 cover stories in 2006, there were 70 bylines and eight photos by female journalists. Beverly Wettenstein, a New York City journalist, analyzed Business Week, Forbes, Fortune, Newsweek and Time to gauge representation. Time had the highest count with 22 cover bylines and four cover photos out of 50 stories.

Jacqueline Lee is a Los Angeles-based reporter interning with Women’s eNews and Nouhad Moawad is managing editor of Arabic Women’s eNews.

Women’s eNews welcomes your comments. E-mail us at [email protected].